Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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I last had a professional hair cut on January 3rd.  The last time I bleached my hair was on February 26th when I was up at my folks' place.

We snapped the following photo on March 27th, as a promo photo for our Coffee Break Concerts which launched on March 30th, 2020.

This next photo was snapped today, June 17th, after Coffee Break Concert #34. 

And here's a close-up comparison of my roots.  I have buzzed the sides and back several times with the #4 attachment on my clippers, and just two nights ago I finally broke down and purchased thinning shears because my faux-hawk was no longer staying up.  I'm wishing I had thought to snap the "after" photo before I had given the top part of my hair a little trim.

Seeing my natural hair color has been somewhat sobering. While I don't have much gray (surprisingly), my hair is pretty thin in the "yarmulke" part of my head. Having dark hair at the root makes my white scalp really show; where I feel like bleaching my hair makes it look less scalpy.

I do kinda like the way these dark roots look, though... but then I worry I'm treading dangerously close to Flavortown; I do not want to look like Guy Fieri.

Anyhoo, all is well here, considering.  I haven't worked at all this year, which is stressful... but it looks like training companies are starting to book more classes (99% of them are virtual at this point), which is good. Even if I'm not the one teaching them, I can still make a few bucks selling courseware for other people's classes, so that's good. 

Mentally I was struggling a bit right at the start of the lockdown, but these coffee break concerts really have been a saving grace. It's been good for me to have something to plan for, work towards, and look forward to... plus I get to be silly, and I get to "see" people I love in the chat window. 

We've scaled the concerts back to only Wednesdays and Fridays now that Delaware is into Phase 2 of reopening (back in the earlier phases we ran concerts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays).  This was the first week where we only did two shows instead of our typical 3 shows, and it felt like it's the right move (I think).  It's good to have a long weekend so we can go visit my parents without having to schlep an entire sound system.

Physically, my health has been OK. I feel like I'm fighting a little ear infection or something-- when I swallow my left gland where my left ear drains into my throat is all ouchie, though it doesn't hurt as much today as it did earlier in the week-- so maybe I'm over it.

We've been taking the quarantine very seriously, because my dad needs heart surgery (routine, no biggie, just a valve replacement) soon, and when that happens we'll be staying up there while he recovers.  We've been up there to visit twice during the lockdown, but our first visit was after Matt and I got tested for Covid-19.  I know tests are kinda silly because we could have gotten infected 3 minutes after leaving the testing site, but yeah. 

We haven't eaten anything we haven't cooked ourselves since March 14th. No takeout food, no delivery, no door dash, nada.  It's actually been pretty fun cooking stuff, making creative use of the leftovers, making sure things don't go to waste, etc.

Matt's lost about 12 pounds (he's happy about that), and I'm down about 2-3 pounds, which I am not happy about.  I just don't have much of an appetite. Oh well.

It's getting to be iron infusion time, so hopefully I'll get that in the next month or two. I got my iron bloodwork done about 4 weeks ago but I wasn't quiiiiiiite dead enough, so I'll get another round of bloodwork in two weeks and by then my iron levels should have sufficiently crashed. Wheee!

Right before the lockdown I was scheduled to have a ton of dental work done, but then that all got canceled. I just got a note from my dentist office now saying that they're now accepting patients again for everything from cleanings and routine services to bigger mouf projects, so I guess I should get rescheduling that... but maybe I should wait until my dad's heart stuff is done.  Like I said, I've been soooo diligent in my covid-fighting, but if I go for Dental Derp, I don't have any way to be sure I'm being as neurotic as I should be... and I also won't have a way to keep an extra eye on the dentist staff, too (though I hope I should be able to trust them).


What else... 

We have so much music-work to do, in addition to our own music. We figured we'd be getting a break with The Rock Orchestra being on hiatus, but nope!

Matt's been hired by a modern-day vaudeville/performing arts group in Maryland to create a shit-ton music for their next big production, so he's been heads-down creating bespoke arrangements of Queen tunes and Meatloaf songs that can fit the size ensemble this group has.  But he's not just writing the parts out and calling it good; they want him to change the feel of some of these tunes to give it more of a steampunky feel, if that makes any sense. They're an interesting group.

I've been hired by two bands to help them out with their respective "covid collaborations" -- you know, those videos where bands record themselves playing their parts of a song at home, and then someone assembles the audio and video into a Zoom-like view so you can watch the individual band members singing/playing the song.  We did a few of these for The Rock Orchestra (here and here), but then two bands I've never heard of contacted me hoping I could handle some insane backing vocals and percussion-- I guess they wanted to go bigger than what their band can usually cover.  They're paying hansomely, which is very nice, because it's fuck-ton of work. 

One of the songs one band wants me to do is a tune by Boston-- so I'm covering all of those stacked vocals that go waaaaay up into the stratosphere. I can do it, but first I have to write all the parts out and then I'll record them.  The other song for the other band is an original, so I'm creating the arrangements from scratch and singing them, and playing a bunch of percussion, too.  It's fun, but it's a lot of work.


In other news, I'm officially 762876 years old because I bought a few bird feeders and I love watching the birds go nuts for them. We have pair of cardinals, two pairs of sparrows, two borbs (mourning doves), four crows... and now most mornings three squirrels have been taking up residence in the feeders and pissing off the birds. (I can't believe four crows are afraid of 3 squirrels... where the sparrows could not care less about the squirrels. Go figure.) 

Around 3:30am a family of five raccoons pops by and eats whatever's been kicked over the sides of the feeders to the ground, though tonight they decided to sit right in the feeder-- five racoons on a pie plate eating seeds and nuts. It was pretty damn adorable. 

OK, this is way too long.  I know there are more important things I should be talking about, but my brain is squishy.

love you all.

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he chomps in the air with the greatest of ease,
he's the raccoon on the feeder trapeze...
Ooooh, I do not like looking at the yarmulke part of my head right now. The longer my hair gets the thinner that part of my head looks. Weirdly, when I buzzed it way down, it looked fuller. Hair is weird. If I'd known how brief my long flowing curly locks period would be I would have leaned into it more; every haircut I got in my 20s was a mistake.
love you too.
love you! i'm happy you guys have so many creative outlets (especially the self-created ones, because we get to benefit from your awesomeness). i hope you feel better soon!!!
Jenn A 6/21
 

Christmas

Had an especially lovely Christmas up at Chez ElderKnapp. I don't know if it's because my brother's kids are older now or what, but it was just really fun, funny, dorky, kind, playful, and full of love. I feel very lucky. Matt and I got up there late on Christmas Eve, and we came home later on the 27th. 

I'm sad for my poor mom... everything just hurts her so much, and because she's on so many medications for other things, she's not allowed to take NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, aspirin) -- so she's limited to Tylenol, which notoriously does nothing for my mom and those of us who take after her side of the family. So she just HURTS. She really tries to be a trooper (trouper?) and smile through it all, but it really takes its toll and it's heartbreaking. I can't imagine living in that much pain... and it SUCKS that one friggin' Aleve fixes it perfectly for 12 hours, but she can't even take that. Man. I keep asking her to beg her doctor for something, but naturally as soon as you say "pain" to a doctor they think you're shooting heroin or something idiotic. Like, can't they reduce the amount of blood thinner she's on so she can take one miserable Aleve? I don't get it. 


Phish in NYC

Friday the 29th Matt and I, along with BT and KT went to NYC to see Phish. It was BT's 93-millionth Phish show, KT's 4th, Matt's 2nd, and my first Phish show. The crowd was absolutely awesome-- so friendly with a kind, inviting, Burner vibe. Everyone was baked or tripping and the guards were lenient and friendly, which was refreshing, since nobody was hurting anyone/anything. We sat in section 115 which had a great view. The floor is general admission and people aparently line up very very early to get a good spot on the floor. From our view above the floor, we were all super-impressed with how everyone on the floor respected each others' space. Nobody pushed, nobody crowded or shoved. It just seemed great. 

Some guy who calls himself Malacoid greeted us when we got to our seats, and he greeted everyone else as they filled in. He introduced us all to each other, and after about 30 minutes we were all buddies. This guy Ryan (who was a long-haired, bearded Dave Grohl) looked like he needed one of my blinkie burner lights, so I gave it to him and he acted like I gave him a million dollars. It was great. 

Phish played from 8:15-10pm, and then played a second set from maybe 10:30-11:45. What amazing musicians! It was a pleasure and I'd love to go back. We slept in NYC (I booked two hotel rooms) and it felt great to have a comfy place to crash that night instead of driving home. FTN.


New Years Eve

New Years Eve was either going to be spent in NYC or spent quietly at home doing nothing... and then at the last minute it turned into a very small gathering (just 7 of us). Matt made dinner, we played Cards Against Humanity, and everyone went home around 1:15ish. We were absolutely maxxed out at 7 people (my house simply cannot hold more than 7) and it worked out fine. I was also happy to see all of the neat events happening around Wilmington this year. 


Phone Blather (BlackBerry stuff)

Anyway, I just got a notice that my beloved Blackberry Priv (it runs Android, so please stop making 2006 jokes about my Blackberry) will no longer receive updates from Verizon or Google as of 12/31/17, so it is officially end of life... which is some serious bullshit considering I bought it on the day it came out on March 4th 2016. Really? A $750 phone (yes, I really paid $750) gets barely two years of support?! Insane, man. Seriously.

Anyway anyway, over the last two weeks or so, I noticed that the micro-USB charging port has been getting a little wonky... like needing some wiggling, or needing to be positioned juuuuuust riiiiiight to get a good charge. This never ends well... and as of yesterday, the port is now completely dead. I'm sure it just became unsoldered as these things do, and if I had a T3 screwdriver I feel confident in my ability to take it apart, re-solder the connection, and move on with my life. Alas, I lack the right tools right now. (Gonna order them from Amazon shortly.) Anyway, as you can imagine, yesterday my battery drained completely, and now I officially have no way to charge my phone... which means I was phoneless all day yesterday. I don't get paid for a few more weeks, so I can't really afford a new phone right now (and even if I could afford it, what would I buy? I haven't even been thinking about new phones so I don't really even know what's out there. And something tells me that my physical-keyboard options are pretty damn slim).

So, late last night I fired up one of my three ancient Droid4s that I had laying around, but they all use an old-style SIM card, so I couldn't pull my BlackBerry SIM card and plonk it into my Droid4 and have it just work. (Besides, my Droid 4 is SO damn laggy, and it was horribly laggy in 2015, so in 2018 it is basically unusable.) And then I remembered... wait a second... My Blackberry Priv has wireless charging! I've never used it because I don't own a wireless charging station, but WHEEE! Here's a $30 fix for a $750 problem. And because I have the best boyfriend ever, while I was sleeping this morning, Matt woke up and went to Best Buy and bought me a wireless charging pad, so when I woke up, he was handing me a Qi charger that I got set up in 3 seconds and YAAAAAY, my phone is slowly coming back to life. I actually cried when I saw it charging up. It was like hearing your friend was in a horrible accident and then finding out he's OK.

So, what have we learned?
1) I can toss my Droid 4s now, because they're unusuable now, even as a backup. (But man, I missed that big-ass keyboard.)
2) My BlackBerry Priv has wireless charging and it works great... and I can use this charging pad for pretty much whatever device I wind up buying next.
3) I need to start shopping for a new phone, because my Priv is officially not going to get any security updates anymore, so if I wanna be a secure little technology consumer, I need to have a device that is still being supported. 
4) Verizon can eat a bag of dicks for selling a device and only offering support for not even two years. (I acknowledge it may not be Verizon's decision to stop pushing updates... it's probably Google's... but still. F Y'ALL.)


As of right now, my phone options seem to be:
1) A Blackberry KeyOne. The only crappy thing about that is the keyboard is visible/exposed all the time, so ass-dialing could be a problem with that device. (My Priv's keyboard hid away nicely.)
2) A Moto Z, which is supposed to be an open platform for people to design various cool mods for it. Some neat guys developed a super-sexy landscape keyboard mod for it that has its own battery, but that keyboard mod doesn't ship until the spring. 
3) A Samsung Galaxy S8, which has a nifty keyboard attachment for use in portrait-mode.

I dunno. I'm gonna see which phone of those three has the most horsepower and which one will likely be around the longest and go for that one.

[update]
I'm gonna get a Blackberry KeyOne. I just watched 47,000 reviews and comparison videos by unbiased reviewers online, and even people who initially scoffed at a BlackBerry were ALLLLL about it by the end. So sign me the hell up. Two days of battery life is pretty awesome, too.


Lastly: 

I caught the plague that everyone else had. I thought I had caught it a few weeks ago, but I managed to fight it off with megadoses of vitamins... but now it has officially got me in its grips. I have yellow and green stuff coming out of my sinuses that I could really do without. We have a gig on Friday and I hope I'm OK, since we're headlining. I have NO voice, and it is excruciating to speak. Ugh ugh ugh.

It's supposedly gonna snow so I'm gonna go set up my snowcam. okbye.

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1/4 '18 3 Comments
Snowcam! Or BLOWCAM?
Feel better, sweetheart.

Could you go with your Mom to a doctor's appt and discuss her pain, or is that not something the two of you would be comfortable with?
Who is your mom's palliative care doc? That is usually the member of the team who can figure out stuff like what your mom is going through. They're great at balancing medicine with quality of life and like to err on the side of quality. If your mom doesn't have a palliative care doctor, and you're able to advocate for her, you should request (okay, demand) one via her primary.
Anne Mollo 1/4 '18edited
 

I should not be awake right now.

I drove exactly 300 miles yesterday over 6.25 hours driving between rehearsals, Matt's performance at a north Jersey wedding (nobody we knew-- it was just a gig, and I did not attend... I was just the chauffeur), my parents' place, and home. 

I was very happy to see my folks yesterday, even though it was a quick visit. 

I have two more rehearsals today and another performance. 

I bought my house exactly 10 years ago Friday. 

​​​​​I still have boxes I haven't opened since they were moved here from my old apartment. 

I spend a lot of time waiting for my phone to do what I'm asking it to do, which often isn't much.

I think operationally, not strategically.

I move gently.

If I have a problem, I solve it fundamentally.

I think mentally-- and when I fly I'm so high, I do it intercontinentally.

(Those last three lines courtesy of Robert Bryan and Dave Peters. Listen here.)

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11/12 '17 6 Comments
Wow you are one seriously busy lady! I hear you re the phone... it gets old. How hard is it anyway for my $600 machine to perform simple tasks? Ugh.

Congrats on 10 years of home ownership and enjoy all the gigging (exhausting as it is). And I hope you get some rest soon!
Leela 11/12 '17
Oh shit.
I thought, “That sounds familiar... wait, that’s me, that’s Dave.”
Wow. Thank you.
Robert Bryan 11/12 '17
I sing that song ALL. THE. TIME. I love how he delivers your lyrics (the inflections make me soooo happy), and the little vocal percussions he sometimes does betwixt verses.

I fly a lot. So that line is in my head very often. :-)

Thank you to the both of you for giving us all that song.
Holy crap! I completely recognize those lyrics from the mix you put that on about a bajillion years ago. I didn’t know that was Mr. Bryan‘s work!
Yup! Rob wrote the lyrics and Dave set it to music, played it, and recorded it. Fun, right?
Fun indeed!